By Michael A. Smith, MD
Truth is, with so much information out there and countless “experts” talking about the latest essential discovery, it’s pretty easy to get frustrated, discouraged, and turned in the wrong direction.
So how do you make sense out of all of this? Well, for starters, this post will probably help quite a bit.
That being said, you should also take a look at MySupplementPyramid.com, which is an interactive tool we've designed to help people like you customize your own supplement regimen. Getting started only takes a few minutes and it's extremely helpful.
The Supplement Pyramid
|The Supplement Pyramid|
At the bottom is your foundation level, in the middle is your personalization level, and lastly, at the top, is your optimization level.
Let’s look at each one together.
(Note: Please speak with your doctor before starting any new supplement or when adding one to your regimen.)
Level 1: The Foundation LevelA strong foundation best describes the structural integrity of the Egyptian pyramids. This is true for your supplement pyramid as well. So the first level we’re going to build is the foundation.
The supplements within this level support basic life processes, such as cell energy production, growth, repair and regeneration. It’s these foundational supplements that ultimately lead to optimal health and wellness.
No matter who you are or what you’re going through, these are the foundational supplements you should consider starting with:
- A Daily Multivitamin – One that provides the key vitamins and minerals you need as well as fruit and vegetable extracts for an extra “antioxidant punch” is ideal.
- Ubiquinol CoQ10 – CoQ10 is an essential nutrient for cell energy production. Without it, cells cannot produce the energy they need to perform basic functions.
- Essential Fats – An abundance of scientific research substantiates the wide-ranging health benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and fish oil supplements.
- Probiotics – Replenishing healthy gut bacteria as we age is critical for digestion and a strong immune system.
Level 2: The Personalization LevelWe all face different health challenges. Some of us have a history of heart disease, while others have had cancer in their family. This is why your supplement pyramid should address your own specific health needs. We do this within the middle of the pyramid at the personalization level.
Since this part of the supplement pyramid is tailored to your needs, accounting for personal and family health history is the first step in developing it.
Using the list below as a guide, place a check mark next to each body part or system where you or a family member has a problem or diagnosis. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be too specific.
For example, let’s say your sister suffers from tremors of her hands, but her doctors don’t know what it is. That’s okay. In that case, you would just place a check mark next to “brain and nerves”.
- Brain & Nerves
- Muscles & Joints
- Heart & Lungs
- Gastrointestinal System
- Kidneys, Urinary & Bladder
- Immune System
- Thyroid & Other Hormone Issues
- Mood Disorders
Level 3: The Optimization LevelThe top level of the pyramid is all about “optimizing” your regimen. This might include extra antioxidants, additional protein and amino acid supplementations, or maybe even the latest longevity herb.
But remember this: The supplements in the top part of your pyramid should be considered after you’ve established your foundation and personalization levels — not the other way around!
Build Your Supplement Regimen from the Bottom UpHere’s an example: A Life Extension member is looking to start taking supplements. This person has a family history of heart disease and is interested in nutrients for longevity.
- Foundation Level – Start with the 4 foundational supplements listed above.
- Personalization Level – Add a pomegranate extract because of their family history of heart disease.
- Optimization Level – Add Resveratrol, a powerful nutrient that favors longevity genes.1
This is a good way to build a "starter" regimen and we hope that it helps get you on track.
Of course, if you're looking for more accurate suggestions, be sure to check out MySupplementPyramid.com for free, personalized help with selecting the best supplements specifically for you.
- Mol Biol Rep. 2011 Jun 25.
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